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Jul 20, 2014 08:09 PM


FO opening in Culver City 5 or so years ago filled me with excitement...not because of their burgers but because stupid me thought some of those hordes of hamburger hipsters might stroll 200 feet south and walk into the Jazz Bakery to hear really hip jazz...but no, im fairly sure not a single burger stuffed fool ever did...meanwhile every time i went to the Bakery early, FO was so crowded there was no way i could even try a damn burger! Today, the Jazz Bakery is only a memory, though the amazing Ruth Price has not only been successfully fund raising to resurrect this beloved jazz space, but Frank Gehry has designed it, gratis! anyway, today i headed towards CC with the goal of trying to get into Bucato for a first try of their touted pasta...i couldnt find it but, as i strolled up Helms ave, lo and behold, I saw that FO was only 1/2 in i went. Id heard all the hype as well as the terrifying chatter about the burger joint"s fascist "rules." I found an empty table near the exit, in case i needed to make a hasty escape, went up to the bar to order a FO burger, basket of fries and a diet cola and sat down, nervously. The wait staff seemed pretty friendly and the clientele was chatting away. My fries came first...i ordered the basket because i figured this snooty joint probably would serve a handful of anemic spud slices but this basket was filled with tasty if too thin for my taste fries...the garlic aioli mayo worked well with get enough potato flavor i resorted to cramming several at a time into my hungry maw. quite satisfactorily...then the burger was first reaction was one of deep disappointment. Literally, there was no sign of the was completely obscured by spinach and the bun...oh my friends, i thought to myself, "I knew it. All fuckin' hype...overpriced dreck!" but lo and behold, once i lifted it out of its basket, i saw a very nice, juicy and pink patty of beef calling to me with that familiar siren song, "eat me eat me"...the first bite unleashed all kinds of flavors...slight sweetness from the carmelized onions, juicy salty beef and a nicely textured bun more than strong enough to survive my assault. and the soft drink was a nice 12 oz bottle of diet cola not the 6oz variety i expected. I'll add i asked them how the medium rare was cooked and they quite accurately suggested that for my preference, pinkish, not bloody, i should go with the was perfect...the other pleasant surprise was that i was neither frisked nor subjected to a full body xray in order to ensure i wasnt smuggling in ketchup...damn, none of my fears were realized. FO was a perfectly tasty and delightful experience which i hope to repeat soon. It was way better than my only visit to the original Umami which turned me off in every way possible! the other good news was that as i walked back to my car, i passed Bucato and learned that ,though id read it was a tough res, in fact except for the peak hours of 6:30pm-8:30pm it was quite accessible. Great news! and one of these days when the Jazz Bakery is reborn in quite an ambitious new space next to the Kirk Douglas theater, i can look forward to burgers and pasta in 2 very diner friendly spots...Amen

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  1. An unfounded urban myth - being retired - one diner at a time. Nice to find out for yourself isn't it? Good on ya...F'sO burger has one of the very best "beefy" flavored patty's I've ever eaten.

    1 Reply
    1. Next time, opt for the sweet potato fries.

      2 Replies
      1. re: JAB

        thanks JAB, i forgot to mention that as i walked out i saw how nice and thick the sweet potato fries were!

      2. I will gladly trade you 2 Father's Office burgers tomorrow for a paragraph break (or several) today.


        19 Replies
        1. re: ipsedixit

          Hey Ipsedixit, i worry enough about writing rules with my jazz essays for post was pure stream of still digesting the burger and fries...of course, if youre seriously offering to treat me to a coupla burgers tomorrow, i'll start editing immediately!

          1. re: lapizzamaven

            Checked out la louisianne in inglewood for live music? Also there are dollar fried chicken and red beans and rice nights. Lots of fun.

            1. re: jessejames

              do they present jazz? red beans and rice wont be enuf to get me there...but if its swingin'...

              1. re: lapizzamaven

                Soul blues r and b but lots of instrumental. Really good players and singers. No bullshit authentic shit. Sometimes sax. Sometimes guitar. Sometimes both. Great singers drummers and lots of fun. I go for the music not the food but dollar plates what's not to like. Give it a shot. For me it's as authentic as it gets in lalaland.

          2. re: ipsedixit

            Dommy! always says "if you wait a few minutes, you don't have to be that person."


            1. re: ipsedixit

              since your read it, what's the tl;dr rendition?


              1. re: TonyC

                Apparently getting into Bucato without a reservation is not that hard.


                1. re: TonyC

                  tl;dr "My expectations were so low, I was pleasantly surprised by how not bad it was."

                  LAPM, sorry if that comes across as snarky, but that's how it read to me, with the long somewhat snarky preamble and the stereotyping and then oh wait they serve real portions of real food...

                  BTW I did not think FO's burger, or Evan Funke's Rustic Canyon burger (as he served it on Memorial Day at Bucato), was any big deal. Maybe I had the opposite expectation as you, that they would be amazing. I do think Golden State and Belcampo's are worth the hype.

                  1. re: TheOffalo

                    Golden state was a good burger, but not blown away by it.... And though I love arugula, I'm getting sick of the tender greens on a burger and am starting to prefer and respect a decent amount of crunch and coolness that iceberg provides.....

                2. re: ipsedixit

                  Amen! OMG Amen.

                  If someone, anyone, wants to write in "stream-of-conciousness" mode, for all that is holy, please give us a break so we can take a breath and wade back in to find the gems in the post.

                  James Joyce would have given up two lines in.

                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      "As I Lay Dying." - I almost did.

                      Cheers, ipse :)

                      1. re: lapizzamaven

                        Dear pizzamaven.

                        You did not bore me and I am sorry if my comment upset you.

                        I value good communication and look to Chow Hound for guidance to great places to go.

                        I apologize to you.


                        1. re: Gypsy Jan

                          Im hardly upset just a bit amused and they say in show biz any publicity/ comments are good...and apology unnecessary but accepted.

                      2. re: Gypsy Jan

                        Hows this,Gypsy Ann..the jerkoff hipsters never supported jazz next door...FO burger taking ketchup next time...Bucato is ez for walk-ins!

                        1. re: lapizzamaven

                          Bravo my pizza friend.

                          And I hope my ribbing didn't rub you the wrong way. We're all here amongst friends. We joke cuz we care.

                          1. re: ipsedixit

                            Not at all, Ipsedixit, especially you who can identify all my pizza fotos in a glance!

                    2. I may just join you in that worthy repeat endeavor. Try the Tripel Karmeliet with your burger & fries on the next visit.

                      Don't even think of sneaking in any ketchup to FO :-)

                      Did you know that Bulgarini Gelato is right across the street from that FO location?

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: J.L.

                        Ive been busted...i did Bulgarini after FO! Florentine choc & a vanilla

                        1. re: J.L.

                          By the way, if i remember, im bringin ketchup!

                            1. re: J.L.

                              How would they even notice if you were discrete and have they ever booted someone for that?

                          1. re: J.L.

                            Or a Pliny the Elder if you're into IPAs.

                          2. More seriously, I like that FO burger too much to ever want to be on Sang Yoon's persona non grata list...

                            Besides, I do agree that the pre-conceived tastes shouldn't be messed with at FO - In this case, there is indeed method to Sang Yoon's madness.